I am shocked to find myself ravenously gobbling (yes gobbling) up the boys’ leftover creamy, cheesy leftover risotto…
Even more shocked to find that I am ravenously gobbling up the boys’ leftover risotto from the pan… AND with the spoon!
I stop gobbling for a few minutes and change the spoon for a fork.
I continue gobbling.
Somehow having a fork makes it ok…
To eat from a pan…?
Or to eat leftovers?
To eat creamy carbs on a week night when I haven’t exercised?…
I am not sure…
So why I am shocked? I bet many people eat kids leftovers. I bet quite a few eat from a pan… saves washing up right?
It’s not something I would do.
The eating off a spoon – terribly uncouth.
The eating from a pan – even more so!
The eating kids leftovers – in my opinion and experience, a slippery slope of adding in extra unrequired calories a day which can lead to the middle aged middle.
These are behaviours, I wouldn’t usually allow myself to do.
My personal standards today have clearly slipped!
So that begs the question, why is that? What happened today to make me resort to eating leftover boy’s tea off a spoon from the pan?
Looking at the facts of what needed to happen today:
Tom needed to be ready to leave at 7.20am to get to school on time for 8am.
Willy and I both needed to be at the same school for 9.15am.
Willy needed picking up from the school at 2.15pm.
Tom needed picking up from the same school at 4.45pm.
2 drop offs / 2 pick ups and the rest of the day was mine to do what I wanted.
That sounds boringly easy. Simple. And definitely not ‘eating leftovers with a spoon from a pan’- like…
Or at least what I would have thought – pre-kids, suited and booted, off on the corporate ladder warpath, ignorant to life as a mum…
For adding in to the simple recipe of 4 drop off and pick ups – add in the additional factors:
The school is a 40 minute each way commute.
You could argue that I could have made one trip both ways, hung out near the school for a few hours.
However, while Tom gets dressed, makes and eats his breakfast, does his ablutions independently and without any fuss… Willy does not.
Willy likes to take his time, having breakfast in his pyjamas (he hates to get his school clothes with one spot of a meal on them, let alone any spillage of water – Mr OCD in miniature).
Willy likes 3 rounds of toast, made for him with just the right amount of butter.
Any rushing Willy or deferring him from his routine, ends up meaning disaster. He would not be ready for 7.20 am.
The return journey… I could have picked up Willy at 2.15 and hung about around school for Tom. But Tom was on an away rugby fixture and 4.45pm pick up is likely to mean 5.15pm. And in my professional Mum’s opinion 3 hours is too long to hang around in coffee shops… or go shopping with a 6 year old (chaos or massive expenditure)…. And going home to drop Willy off and back again would be just a waste of time and petrol…
So the simple recipe of today has been logistically tricky… not only in terms of cost effectiveness, timeliness but also the added important factor of keeping 2 small boys fed, watered and most importantly happy – ensuring both of them get the same level of love and attention as each other…. (I am still conscious of Willy’s melt down only a few weeks ago because I spend too much time with Tom…albeit on school runs, but he doesn’t understand that).
Add in to the simple recipe, the ingredients that are required to keep my life plans and my business moving in the direction that I want it.
Add in to the simple recipe, the ingredients that are required to keep my health and sanity in tact.
Add in to the simple recipe, the necessary ingredients that are required to keep the household functioning, the endless list of ‘jobs’ that come with being a home owner, a wife, a friend… HMRC to ring, the garage to ring and pay a bill, anniversary present to buy, etc etc etc…
I had thought that leaving my corporate job would leave me to have a more balanced life for my children, my relationships and me….
When I imagined this balanced life – the image of an old fashioned scale came into my mind… and rather than being heavily tipped over to the corporate, career side with my family, friendships and me left wanting more, swaying precariously high up… the scale would be even, equal, perfectly level, calm, immobile…
I realize now that that is an image that is something unachievable. There is no such thing as perfect. There is no such thing as perfect balance. Trying to achieve that is setting a standard far too high, impossible! And as such just another reason to beat myself up for not achieving something…
This image and realization then triggers another memory… a clip or a talk that I stumbled across once.. A guest on Oprah, once said exactly that. Work / life balance is just another reason, another weapon for women to beat themselves up for not getting it right.
I love what she says afterwards… Embrace the beautiful mess that you are.. that we all are.
So today I embrace being a beautiful mess…. Driving the same route multiple times, catching quick coffees with friends to fill the time between road trips, scribbling business plans on note pads, phone calls from the car… a beautiful mess of a Mum with boys on my knee at tea time, boys on my lap on the sofa… coaxing little ones to bed with promises of treats… patiently watching Willy flap and cry for 10 minutes in a particularly bad night terror as I have my cup of herbal sleep tea… protecting him from sharp corners, walls and tables…
It is therefore rather fitting that my supper was a beautiful mess too… a beautiful mess in the bottom of the pan that tasted so good… off a spoon.